15 Finest Issues to do in Cape Cod for First-time Guests

Whether or not you might be visiting for the day, a weekend, or spending per week’s trip, listed below are our picks for the very best issues to do in Cape Cod for first-time guests.

Residing in Rhode Island for the final 20+ years, we now have taken numerous journeys to Cape Cod, from day journeys to go to mates, to weekend getaways within the low season, to a weeklong household trip. Like several vacation spot that you simply revisit, through the years you come to your favourite spots repeatedly.

So in case you are planning your first go to to Cape, I wished to share our picks for the very best issues to do in Cape Cod. However first, in case you have by no means visited Cape Cod and you aren’t from New England, it helps to get a deal with on the vernacular and a lay of the land earlier than you go.

Cape Cod Overview

Gentle waves on Mayflower Beach

Cape Cod is a peninsula positioned in southeastern Massachusetts, which extends out into the Atlantic Ocean from the mainland. It’s formed like an arm of somebody flexing their muscle tissue, with the “bicep” within the west, nearer to the mainland and the “hand” within the east, furthest out alongside the Cape.

Locals consult with the “bicep” because the Higher Cape, the “elbow” because the Mid-Cape, and the “hand” because the Decrease Cape. Cape Cod is related to the mainland by two bridges: the Sagamore Bridge and the Bourne Bridge. The Decrease Cape contains cities like Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown, whereas the Higher Cape refers to cities similar to Falmouth, Bourne, and Sandwich.

The additional out you get in direction of the Decrease Cape, the narrower the peninsula will get and the quieter the cities are, not less than till you attain Provincetown, which is a really vibrant vacationer city with a powerful LGBTQ neighborhood. If you find yourself selecting the place to remain, it’s good to take into account the type of city you need, accessibility to retailers and eating places, and the seaside expertise you favor.

The seashores on the northern aspect of the Cape, which face Cape Cod Bay, are usually calmer and hotter than the seashores on the Atlantic-facing aspect. Some standard bay-side seashores embrace Mayflower Seaside in Dennis and Sandy Neck Seaside in Barnstable. The water on the bay aspect can also be comparatively shallow and, when the tide is out, the seashores are wonderful for tide pooling, making it a terrific choice for households with young children.

On the Atlantic-facing aspect of Cape Cod, the seashores are typically extra rugged and the water cooler. Some standard Atlantic-facing seashores embrace Nauset Seaside in Orleans and Coast Guard Seaside in Eastham. Nonetheless, you ought to be conscious that nice white sharks are generally noticed within the waters off Cape Cod, significantly on the Atlantic-facing aspect. You will need to comply with seaside security tips, preserve a watch out for any flags, and heed all warnings or closures.

Finest Issues to do in Cape Cod

Listed here are a few of our favourite locations and actions on Cape Cod. And, when you want a spot to remain, try these suggestions for Cape Cod lodging by the seaside.

Watch the Sundown at Skaket Seaside

Sunset over the water at Skatet Beach

Skaket Seaside in Orleans, MA presents among the finest locations to observe the sundown on the Cape.  Since parking is restricted, it’s good to reach late within the day however slightly earlier than sundown. Deliver some seaside chairs and simply sit and watch Mom Nature’s present or convey a shovel and bucket and go exploring. When the tide is out you’ll be able to stroll out fairly far and seek for creatures within the shallow water and sand.

One other great place to see a sundown on the Higher Cape is at Previous Silver Seaside in Falmouth. Due to its place, additionally it is west-facing, giving a phenomenal sundown view.

Seal watching in Chatham

Seal in water

There’s a motive why you hear stories about nice white sharks being sighted off the coast of Chatham, MA each summer time. They arrive due to the seals.

Cape Cod is understood for its inhabitants of gray seals, and there are a number of locations the place you’ll be able to spot seals of their pure habitat. Among the best locations is on Monomoy Island, which is residence to 1000’s of seals. The Seal Cruise from Harwich Port with Monomoy Island Excursions is a well-liked seal watching tour that takes you previous Monomoy Island and different seal hotspots, with knowledgeable guides offering details about the seals and their conduct.

One other standard spot that received’t value you something is the Chatham Fish Pier, the place seals usually congregate to feed on scraps from the fishing boats. It is usually enjoyable to observe the fishing boats are available in and unload their catch. The parking zone is small so go at off hours and choose up some fish if you are there to prepare dinner again at your seaside home rental.

Go Buying in Chatham

Chatham home to the Great White

There aren’t a whole lot of cities with a cute downtown and Major Road with retailers and eating places on Cape Cod however Chatham is among the finest, and Hyannis is one other. Positioned on the southeastern tip of Cape Cod, the city is residence to many historic landmarks, together with the Chatham Lighthouse, which dates again to 1808, and the Atwood Home & Museum, which showcases the city’s early historical past.

Chatham can also be a well-liked vacation spot for beachgoers, with a number of scenic seashores similar to Lighthouse Seaside and Harding Seaside, recognized for his or her delicate sand and clear water.

I really like the colourful downtown space, which is lined with retailers, artwork galleries, and eating places serving recent seafood and different native specialties. Simply remember that city can get very busy in the summertime and discovering parking is usually a problem. In case you are staying close by on the Chatham Bars Inn or Wequassett Resort & Golf Membership, you might wish to reap the benefits of the resort shuttle providers.

Benefit from the Cape Cod Nationwide Seashore

Nauset Lighthouse

The Cape Cod Nationwide Seashore is really a nationwide treasure. This protected space encompasses over 40 miles of pristine shoreline on the outer Cape. It was established in 1961 to protect the pure great thing about the world and is residence to sandy seashores, dunes created by a steep glacial scarp, salt marshes, and forests.

The waves are rougher right here in elements, however of the a number of seashores throughout the Nationwide Seashore, Coast Guard Seaside was named one of many prime ten seashores in america by Dr. Seaside in 2020. Along with swimming and sunbathing, you’ll be able to hike or bike on a number of scenic trails, similar to the favored 1.6-mile Nauset Marsh Path and the 6-mile Head of the Meadow Path.

The park’s customer facilities educate guests in regards to the historical past and tradition of Cape Cod, together with Highland Gentle and the Previous Harbor Life-Saving Station, with ranger-led packages and academic alternatives for guests of all ages. To go to the Cape Cod Nationwide Seashore, you’ll be able to park at one of many many designated heaps alongside the shoreline or reap the benefits of the park’s shuttle service, which runs from late June to early September.

See a Baseball Sport

The Cape Cod Baseball League is a summer time collegiate baseball league that options prime faculty gamers from round america. The custom goes again to 1885 and has a wealthy historical past of creating prime expertise, with over 1,600 former gamers happening to play within the Main Leagues. The league consists of 10 groups, every with its personal stadium, and video games are performed all through Cape Cod from mid-June to early August.

Attending a Cape Cod Baseball League sport is an effective way to expertise a traditional American past-time, full with ballpark meals and family-friendly leisure. You will discover stadiums in cities similar to Chatham, Hyannis, and Orleans.

Seek for Sand {Dollars} at Chapin’s Seaside

Chapin's Beach with the tide out

In case you go to Chapin’s Seaside in Dennis, MA, it’s good to go early for just a few causes. First, the parking zone is small and fills up by 10am on a busy summer time day. Subsequent, in case you are there early, you would possibly even discover a sand greenback (we nonetheless haven’t had a luck.)  

Lastly, the seaside is immense when the tide is out and you’ll stroll very far out on the tidal flats and play within the shallow water. However when the tide is available in, little or no seaside is left, so you really want to concentrate as a result of the tide is available in rapidly and it’s good to transfer your belongings additional up the seaside or threat them floating away.

Go on a Lighthouse Hunt

Nobska lighthouse

There are over a dozen lighthouses on Cape Cod, every with its personal distinctive historical past and character. A number of the most iconic lighthouses on Cape Cod embrace the Nauset Gentle in Eastham, the Chatham Gentle in Chatham, and the Highland Gentle in Truro. Many of those lighthouses have been in operation for over a century and are thought-about historic landmarks.

One in all my favorites is Nobska Gentle in Woods Gap. It’s positioned on a bluff overlooking Winery Sound and whereas it’s not open to the general public, you’ll be able to nonetheless take pleasure in views of the lighthouse from the close by seaside and many individuals will convey folding chairs and sit alongside the bluff to observe the sundown.

In case you are actually into lighthouses, comply with the Cape Cod Lighthouse Path, which consists of 15 lighthouses, and alongside the way in which, you’ll be able to take pleasure in scenic views of the shoreline and study in regards to the maritime historical past of Cape Cod.

Search the Tide Swimming pools at Mayflower Seaside

Ripples on sandbar on Mayflower Beach Cape Cod

Mayflower Seaside is a well-liked seaside positioned within the city of Dennis and it’s recognized for its pristine white sand and clear blue waters. Since it’s positioned on the bay aspect, the water is calm and hotter, and is a well-liked spot for kayaking and paddle boarding. The seaside can also be recognized for its tide swimming pools, that are residence to crabs, starfish, and snails.

The parking zone at Mayflower Seaside is comparatively giant, with over 200 parking areas, however in the course of the peak summer time season, the lot can refill rapidly so it pays to get there early. Whereas there’s a small price for parking, the seaside itself is free and open to the general public.

Go Whale watching

girl with binoculars on a whale watching boat

Whale watching is a well-liked factor to do on Cape Cod and excursions depart from each Provincetown and Hyannis. Nonetheless, I’d advocate leaving from Provincetown as you’ll get to the whale watching grounds quicker. Probably the most generally sighted whales embrace humpback, fin, and minke whales, though sightings of different species, such because the endangered North Atlantic proper whale, are additionally doable.

My phrase of recommendation — don’t go on a whale watch on a day after a rainstorm. You’ll most likely see extra individuals vomiting than you’ll whales. And, all the time convey a heat sweatshirt even on the warmest days as a result of it’s all the time colder on the water.

Stroll Round Provincetown

Girl on whale statue in Provincetown

Provincetown is a historic city positioned on the tip of Cape Cod, with a wealthy historical past courting again to the 1600s when it was a busy fishing village. It later grew to become a bustling artwork colony within the early twentieth century and you’ll nonetheless see artists’ huts scattered out on the dunes.

The city has a vibrant and inclusive tradition, with a big LGBTQ+ neighborhood and a powerful creative scene, mirrored in its many galleries, theaters, and festivals. This is among the few cities on the Cape the place there’s loads to do for a an extended weekend getaway (past the seaside), together with its historic landmarks, such because the Pilgrim Monument and the Provincetown Museum.

Different standard actions embrace whale watching, fishing, and strolling alongside Business Road, recognized for its eclectic retailers, eating places, and nightlife. I’ve a pal that spends two weeks in Provincetown (or “P-town” as most name it) annually and we love going out to go to along with her for the day and all the time discover nice new eating places to attempt.

Take a Dunes Tour in Provincetown

Arts Dunes tours in Provincetown MA

As you strategy the city of Provincetown, you will note the arm of the Cape getting narrower and narrower and enormous sand dunes rising up throughout. These dunes are protected and the one approach to get out and discover them by automobile is with a licensed dunes tour.

We took a tour with Artwork’s Dunes Excursions and beloved studying in regards to the historical past and ecology of the area. Plus we did get an opportunity to get out and clamber about on the dunes for a bit.

Go Kayaking

Kayaking in Hyannis harbor from Favorite Cape Cod Memories from We3Travel.com
Kayaking in Hyannis harbor

We rented a home proper outdoors of Hyannis on a small non-public seaside the place we may watch the approaching and goings of the ferries to Martha’s Winery and Nantucket. We had enjoyable kayaking across the harbor however there are numerous locations on Cape Cod the place you’ll be able to lease kayaks and discover the harbors or salt marshes.

One standard kayaking vacation spot is Nauset Marsh, positioned throughout the Cape Cod Nationwide Seashore. This space presents serene waters, lush greenery, and loads of wildlife, together with ospreys, egrets, and horseshoe crabs. An alternative choice is the Bass River, which flows by means of Yarmouth and presents a peaceable journey by means of salt marshes, tidal flats, and slim channels.

Bike the Shining Sea Bikeway

bike leaning against railing near marsh on Shining Sea Bikeway

After I stayed in a retro Airstream at Autocamp Cape Cod, the campground was positioned proper on the Shining Sea Bikeway. This 10.7-mile scenic bike path runs from Falmouth to Woods Gap, following the previous New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad route, passing by means of salt marshes, cranberry bogs, and wooded areas. The path additionally presents gorgeous views of the ocean, with a number of factors the place you’ll be able to cease to absorb the surroundings or stroll on the seaside.

In case you are staying on the Decrease Cape, you can too bike alongside the Cape Cod Rail Path as an alternative.

Go to Woods Gap

Woods Hole harbor

Many individuals solely go to Woods Gap when they’re catching the ferry to Martha’s Winery or Nantucket, however it is best to actually take a while to take pleasure in this charming little city. Positioned on the southwestern tip of Cape Cod, Woods Gap is legendary for its world-renowned marine analysis establishments, together with the Woods Gap Oceanographic Establishment and the Marine Organic Laboratory.

The village has a wealthy historical past courting again to the 1600s when it was a fishing and whaling neighborhood. At present, you’ll be able to stroll by means of the quaint streets lined with charming retailers, galleries, and eating places. Households will benefit from the small Woods Gap Science Aquarium, which homes numerous marine animals and presents interactive displays. There are additionally many eating places to take pleasure in recent seafood with attractive water views.

Take a Day Journey to the Islands

Hydrangeas and cedar shingle house on nantucket

In case you are staying on Cape Cod for per week or extra, you might wish to take into account taking a day journey by ferry to Nantucket or Martha’s Winery, two of the extra well-known islands off of Cape Cod’s southern coast. Ferries sometimes depart from Woods Gap or Hyannis, offering easy accessibility to each locations.

As soon as on the islands, you’ll be able to discover charming cities, well-known landmarks, museums, and picturesque seashores. In Martha’s Winery, try the historic whaling village of Edgartown, the colourful cliffs of Aquinnah, and the creative neighborhood of Oak Bluffs, ending with sundown on Menemsha Seaside.

On Nantucket, wander the cobblestone streets of the island’s charming city, stroll to the historic Brant Level Lighthouse, go to the Nantucket Whaling Museum, or lease bikes to discover the island.

Save this to Pinterest

Best things to do in Cape Cod Massachusetts

Discover this convenient? Share it!

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles